My search for effective earbuds to cancel low frequency noise has led me to a real gem, 1More‘s Dual Driver ANC Pro. Having put them through an in-depth test, I can report that these are very effective noise cancellers.
In fact, they are substantially more effective than my current ANC earbuds reference, the Bose QC20.
They also sound better, so they are getting a detailed review.
The 1More Dual Driver ANC Pro are very good active noise cancelling Bluetooth earbuds.
They sound balanced and are very pleasant to listen to.
In their most effective ANC mode 1, the bass is boosted and the mids are somewhat restrained. If you like bass, this mode might become your favorite.
I prefer ANC mode 2, wind mode, and ANC off for their mellower sound.
The active noise cancellation of these earbuds is great.
It is significantly better than that of the Bose QC20, for many years the most effective noise cancelling earbuds.
Against sub-bass and low-bass noise (e.g., traffic rumble, hip-hop bass), the 1More ANC Pro are even somewhat more effective than the exceptional over-ear Sony WH-1000XM3 active noise cancelling headphones.
They also reduce airplane cabin noise very well, albeit not quite as well as the Sony.
Against office and coffee shop noise, speech, screaming, barking, honking, etc. the ANC Pro are very decent, but the Sony headphones are substantially better (but those are full-size, over-ear headphones).
- Good, balanced sound
- Excellent active noise cancelling performance
- Great Bluetooth range (5.0) and connection stability
- Good battery life for ANC earbuds (16 hours mixed use: 10 hours ANC on, 6 hours ANC off or wind mode)
- IPX5 water resistance rating
- Can only be connected to one device at a time (no multipoint pairing)
- No battery percentage voice prompt (a hard-to-see flashing red LED and a warning sound indicate low battery)
- Wired connection option available, but not as robust as that of other headphones
- With some music, treble is a bit too much
Overall, these earbuds sound very pleasant. They are fun to listen with.
Add outstanding active noise cancellation to this and you have a versatile listening tool for even very noisy environments.
With ANC turned off, both bass and mids are clearly present but don’t get in each other’s way. The ANC Pro don’t have rolled-off treble and sound detailed.
With some music pieces, treble (around 10K) is a bit much: the earbuds can sound sizzling and a bit fatiguing (this is regardless of whether ANC is turned on or off). I was able to correct this using my phone’s equalizer.
With active noise cancellation turned on, the sound character at the low end changes.
ANC level 1 boosts the bass quite a bit, and this comes at the expense of the singer’s voice, which then sounds a bit too full for my taste.
With electronic dance music, however, this can be a nice effect.
If you like an emphasized bass, you might actually prefer the sound character with ANC level 1.
Both ANC level 2 and wind mode sound a bit mellower than level 1: the bass is still a bit stronger than with ANC switched off, but it doesn’t take away from the mid frequencies.
These modes are great for music that might otherwise lack bass.
With most music, I like the sound of the ANC Pro a lot better than that of my previous ANC earbud reference, the Bose QC20.
The QC20 aren’t bad, but by comparison, they have a somewhat bloated bass and the treble is rolled off too early.
For the sake of it, I have also compared these earbuds to the over-ear Bose QC35.
With most music, the QC35 are the better-sounding headphones. The bass is right, the mids are there, and the treble is there without ever being sizzling or fatiguing. Their only downside is that with some vocals the mids can be a bit too forward. In case you are wondering: the QC35 sound a lot better than the QC20.
But the QC35 are not earbuds, and they usually cost a lot more than the 1More ANC Pro.
Active Noise Cancellation
The 1More ANC Pro earbuds have three levels of ANC (+ÀNC off)
- ANC 1 (the most effective noise cancelling mode. In this mode you also get the most bass boost.)
- ANC 2 (a little milder than ANC1, but still effective enough for most situations)
- Wind Mode (keeps the earbuds from picking up wind noise; see below for details)
- ANC off (the earbuds work just like other Bluetooth earbuds)
The active noise cancelling function of these earbuds is outstanding; the ANC works particularly well against low frequency noise.
The ANC Pro reduce traffic rumble, bass noise (in particular low-end EDM bass), and low-frequency footfalls from upstairs neighbors significantly better than my current earbud reference, the Bose QC20.
Against low frequency noise up to 110 Hz, they are even somewhat better than the currently most effective over-ear ANC headphones (Sony WH-1000XM3).
Walking along a busy road, these earbuds reduced the engine noise of trucks and buses better than anything else I have tried so far. Virtually all rumbling was gone.
The large diesel generator of a nearby shopping center sounded more like a scooter than the 20 ft. machine it is.
Airplane cabin noise reduction
Current world-wide travel restrictions have so far prevented me from trying these earbuds on flights. In lieu of traveling, I used recordings from three different flights and played them at a sound level of 82 decibels (dBA) via an audio system (with subwoofer).
The 1 More ANC Pro earbuds worked very well against cabin noise, again, better than the QC20.
The over-ear Sony ANC headphones, however, had a clear edge over the ANC Pro.
They reduce noise very effectively across a wider frequency range than the earbuds, and with cabin noise it shows. Furthermore, the Sony also reduced announcements and screaming babies (in the recordings) better.
On the other hand, these earbuds are light and small, and still very effective against cabin noise. And it is easier to have your head against a pillow than with full-size headphones.
Office, coffee shop, and everyday noise reduction
The ANC Pro again outperform the Bose QC20 when it comes to reducing speech, eating noises, screaming, barking, and honking.
For earbuds, they are very decent at reducing this kind of noise.
Overall, they are more effective than the QC20 for most of the frequency range from 40 to 1000 Hz. Against the higher mid (1000-2000 Hz) and treble frequencies (>2000 Hz) they perform about the same as the QC20.
They are, however, no match for the over-ear Sony headphones when it comes to reducing speech, office, coffee shop, and most other everyday noises.
Starting from the higher bass (>125 Hz), the Sony WH-1000XM3 perform better across the remainder of the frequency range.
The ANC Pro are earbuds: they form a comfortable seal near the ear canal entrance, but they have to work hard to do what they do.
A shallow seal is great for wearing comfort and ease of use.
But, when it comes to mid- and high frequency noise reduction, earbuds are at a disadvantage compared to foam earplugs and earmuff-type headphones.
They reduce all noise, but don’t expect not to hear the chatter of the folks at the next table.
In principle, the shallow seal should also put the ANC Pro at a disadvantage against low-frequency noise, but here the excellent active noise cancelling electronics more than make up for it.
In my experience, against low frequency noise, they outperform earplugs by quite a margin, and they even give the Sony headphones a run for their money.
I like wind mode a lot.
Walking in a windy environment with ANC on, the microphones of these earbuds pick up wind noise.
This happens with many ANC headphones.
In wind mode, the earbuds still reduce traffic rumble but wind noise is almost completely eliminated. Walking around town, this worked really well.
Furthermore, in this mode you hear more of your surroundings (traffic rumble is still effectively reduced) and feel less isolated.
I feel safer navigating traffic using wind mode than the more effective ANC modes. Wind mode also makes it easier to communicate with other people.
Tip: Wind mode also works great in a coffee shop to get rid of excessive HVAC noise yet stay in touch with the sounds around you.
Can you use the active noise cancelling function without playing music?
Sometimes you may want to use ANC to just reduce noise but not play any sound (e.g., while riding on public transport, on a plane, sleeping, etc.).
To do this with these earbuds, just connect them to your phone (or any other Bluetooth device). You don’t have to play any sound for ANC to work.
Given how good ANC is on these earbuds, this is a great option. You can use any of the ANC modes to reduce the noise that is bothering you.
If you don’t connect to a Bluetooth device within two minutes or so, the earbuds auto power off.
The controls are on the left side of the flexible neckband.
After some getting used to, I find the 1More ANC Pro very easy to operate.
Changing the volume, answering a call, toggling ANC modes, and going into wind mode quickly became second nature. The buttons are clearly separated and easy to feel.
The only thing I find odd is that you have to press the power button for four seconds (by design) to turn them off. Not a big deal though.
When you turn them on the first time, the earbuds go into pairing mode and should appear in your phone’s list of available Bluetooth devices. Tap the entry on your phone and you are good to go.
Subsequently, they automatically re-connect to the most recently paired device.
To connect to a different device while they are turned on, go to your phone’s Bluetooth list and disconnect them, and they go into pairing mode again.
Check the phone, tablet, etc. you want to connect to and you’ll find the 1More under paired devices or under available devices (if you are connecting to a particular phone for the first time).
Alternatively, if the ANC Pro are turned off, turning them on and keeping the power button pressed for an additional two second also puts them into pairing mode.
Note: The 1More ANC Pro only support one active Bluetooth connection at a given time. So you can’t watch videos on your PC and receive phone calls via the earbuds.
Battery and charging
You can use these earbuds in different ANC modes and with different audio codecs. Battery life varies depending on the mode you use them in. To get a realistic picture, I alternated between an Android phone and an iPad and between ANC on, Wind mode and ANC off.
Basically I just used them as I saw fit and took note of the times.
I got a total of 16 hours playtime (of which 10 hours were with ANC on and 6 hours with ANC off or wind mode).
Fully recharging takes 1 hour.
The earbuds have a USB-C port; a very short USB-C to USB-A cable is included. I use my phone’s charger.
(1More states that a quick charge of 10 minutes gives you 3 hours of playtime.)
I am quite happy with both battery play time and charging time.
For nighttime use, I need earbuds that can play sound for at least 10 hours with ANC activated, and these do that.
Battery life is an important point when deciding between neckband earbuds (like these) and true wireless earbuds (TWE). Unfortunately, current TWEs don’t last for a whole night with ANC on.
According to 1More, these earbuds have an environmental noise cancelling (ENC) microphone for phone calls.
In my experience, making phone calls with these earbuds works well as long as the environment is reasonably quiet. Speech (as heard by the other end) sounds a bit compressed but is clear.
Against louder coffee shop babble (62 dB), the call quality deteriorates. Yes, the earbuds’ microphone rejects the background noise, but sometimes it also omits part of the voice, rendering it choppy at times. Speech intelligibility suffers then.
So in a louder environment, the earbuds are OK for a brief exchange, but at some point I’d prefer using my phone.
I compared the call quality to that of the over-ear Bose QC35 and the Bose QC20 earbuds.
The call quality when using the 1More or the QC20 was about the same.
The QC35 performed better both in a quiet environment and against coffee shop babble. In a loud environment, they let more background noise pass through the mics (which can get a bit annoying), but the voice gets picked up loud and clear.
These earbuds come with a USB-C (charging port doubles as audio port) to 3.5 mm cable, so you can plug them into a standard headphone jack (inflight entertainment system, phone, computer, etc.).
They need battery power to be used in wired audio mode.
In general, this works alright, with and without ANC. The sound quality is good.
However, when running my notebook on AC power, plugging/unplugging them (with ANC on) sometimes causes a very loud unpleasant static in the right earbud.
(So much so that I am extra careful to turn the earbuds off and remove them from my ears before unplugging.)
This doesn’t happen when I run the notebook on battery power and it doesn’t happen with my other headphones. Also, with ANC turned on (notebook plugged in), I hear a low-volume buzzing sound coming through the wired connection. So the wired conection of the 1More isn’t as robust as that of my other headphones.
When running the notebook on battery or using the wired connection together with a phone, everything is fine.
Tip: If one of your devices doesn’t support Bluetooth but you don’t want to deal with the wired connection, get a Bluetooth adapter with transmission function. That way you can use the earbuds in Bluetooth mode with flight entertainment systems and other devices that would otherwise need a wired connection.
I use an adapter together with my TV to stream sound to my headphones. This works great and I can hop over to the kitchen to get food.
The 1More Dual Driver ANC Pro are comfortable, sound good, and offer excellent noise cancelling performance.
I am glad I bought these earbuds and I recommend them.
They are easy to use and the neckband style makes for a very convenient wearable. Just put them on in the morning and clasp the magnetic earbuds together.
They are well suited for listening to music on public transport, on planes, in cafés, while going for a walk, and even to help you fall asleep. I also use them quite a bit for watching TV and videos.
The ANC Pro have an IPX5 water resistance rating.
Given their outstanding low-frequency noise reduction, these earbuds provide substantial relief from traffic rumble, bass noise, and stomping noise.
Moreover, while they protrude a bit from the ear, they can work quite well for side sleeping if you use a pillow with a hole or even only a rolled up towel on top of your normal pillow.
Their main advantages compared to true wireless earbuds are their much better battery life (16 hours) and that you won’t easily lose them.
These are primarily Bluetooth earbuds.
While you can also use them as wired earbuds, the wired connection is too sensitive to electrical interference when using them with an AC-powered device. If this is your main use case, I would look for something different.
For me, the wired connection is fine as long as I use them strictly with battery-powered devices.
I use the ANC Pro in the gym without major issues. The neckband does get a bit sticky when I sweat though. If you mainly want earbuds for exercise, true wireless earbuds may be a better choice.
Appendix: Noise cancelling performance by frequency
To better understand how well the 1More ANC Pro perform (in addition to the practical tests mentioned above), I have put them through a comparative noise attenuation test for frequency bands from 40 Hz to 12500.
Compared: 1More ANC Pro earbuds, Bose QC20 earbuds, and Sony WH-1000XM3 ANC headphones
How did I do this test?
- I put on the earbuds/headphones and set ANC to the most effective level.
- For each frequency band, I played pulsed noise through the speakers of an audio system (two speakers + one subwoofer) and decreased the sound level until I wasn’t able to hear the pulsed noise anymore.
- I took note of the corresponding threshold sound level for comparison.
- I have found this kind of test quite revealing when determining how good the noise reduction of a given pair of headphones is. It indicates noise cancelling performance with a real head and real ears—mine.
- A similar test is performed when determining the noise reduction rating for earmuffs and earplugs, but:
- I don’t attempt to determine an NRR as would be necessary for hearing protectors. I just aim to understand how good the performance is against everyday noise.
Attenuation by frequency band
- ++: substantially better (difference >5 dB)
- +: better (difference 3-4 dB)
- Equal (difference 0-2 dB)
1More ANC Pro vs Bose QC20 earbuds
The 1More ANC Pro earbuds reduce noise more effectively than the Bose QC20 at most frequency bands up to 1000 Hz.
From 1000Hz on the two earbuds perform virtually the same. (This is likely due to the comparable noise isolation of the ear tips.
- Against most low-frequency noise up to 250 Hz, including traffic rumbling, bass noise, footfalls, airplane cabin noise etc., the 1More are going to be significantly better than the QC20.
- They are also better against mid-frequency noise up to 1000 Hz. The mid frequencies (together with the lower treble frequencies) are important for blocking speech, honking, barking dogs, and a lot of other everyday noises.
1More ANC Pro earbuds vs Sony WH-1000XM3 over-ear headphones
For low frequency noise up to 110Hz the 1More are as good as or better than the Sony ANC headphones. This range includes most traffic rumble, the bass from hip hop and EDM music and some types of footfalls.
From 125 Hz on the over-ear Sony ANC headphones outperform the 1More. They Sony are going to be somewhat better against airplane noise, and significantly better against everyday noises like speech, honking, barking, clinking, and screeching.